The effects of dam construction process on household livelihoods: a case of Thiba Dam in Kirinyaga County, Kenya
Development projects in Kenya are proceeding at an increasingly rapid pace as a strategy towards achieving vision 2030. Large scale projects can bring significant benefits to communities as construction of roads, health, educational facilities, creation of jobs and other economic opportunities. However, Dam construction projects have already affected the natural and social environments around them and threaten to cause further devastation for local livelihoods as the projects increase in size and number. The Thiba Dam is located in Rukenya, Gichugu constituency of Kirinyaga County in Kenya. The purpose of the dam was developed to improve irrigation facilities in order to improve rice crop production and also provide a stable supply of water required by agriculture in the Irrigation scheme. This study therefore investigated the influence of dam construction projects on household livelihood, a case of Thiba dam Kirinyaga County, Kenya. The study focused on the effects of; land acquisition by dam construction project, Social disruptions by dam construction project, provision of social amenities by dam construction project and compensation offered by dam construction project on the households’ livelihood. The findings of this study will be significant to the government of Kenya in proving empirical information on the influence of Dam construction projects on the livelihood of households around the dam. The findings will help in the estimation of compensation for the PAPs. Further the findings will help the implementers as well as the donors to estimate the benefit of the projects against the costs incurred. Finally the findings of this study will be significant to future researchers in finding literature on dam construction and household livelihoods. This study will also act as a stepping stone to further research. The study employed a descriptive research design. The target population under study was 845 households that have been displaced by the construction of Thiba Dam however the study only sampled 271 PAPs by use of stratified random sampling. Data was collected by use of questionnaires. The data was analysed quantitatively and qualitatively and presented using frequencies, regression analysis. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21 aided in generating a summary of results which were represented in form of tables. The study found out that 51.3% of household livelihood can be explained by acquisition of land belonging to households living around the dam. The findings also showed that only 15.3% of household livelihoods can be explained by compensation offered to households by the dam constructors, while only 1.4% of the household livelihoods can be explained by social amenities provided by the implementers of Thiba dam construction project and finally 36.4% of household livelihood can be explained by social disruption caused by Thiba dam construction.